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Shining - One One One CD (album) cover





3.53 | 25 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Anyone who has kept up with the Norwegian band SHINING can only come to the inevitable conclusion that the mastermind and band leader Jørgen Munkeby is one of those restless creative types who can't sit still for too long and with the exception of the band's two debut albums which focused on a retro style of avant-garde post-bop jazz in the spirit of 60s John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, SHINING has practically reinvented itself every step of the way but somehow retained a bit of what came before only teased things out in unexpected directions that the fans could hardly see coming.

After 2010's breakthrough album "Blackjazz," SHINING latched onto a heavier extreme metal sound that caught on with a fanbase no doubt inspired by a lengthy tour with fellow Norwegiains Enslaved but that album still retained those extreme journeys through myriad musical genera that not only adopted the more extreme sounds of black industrial metal but retained the reverie of a classic King Crimson album as it equally reveled in dark psychedelic atmospheres laced with psycho-jazz interludes and over the top progressive rock workouts with the compositional fortitude of 20th century classical avant-gardists.

Never content to simply repeat a formula, for their next act SHINING reinvented its sound once again with that same tightrope act of keeping just enough of what came before to make it obvious it's the same band (first two albums excepted) and thrown onto the work table to craft an entirely new Frankenstein. As evidenced by the stark contrast of the album cover art of "Blackjazz," with the band's following sixth studio album ONE ONE ONE sported a glowing neon orange packaging and so too did the musical style shift gears and take a complete 180 into a more direct extreme metal experience that focuses on quick streamlined molten attacks rather than sprawling prog fueled eccentricities.

Another album, another lineup change with the two members Even Helte Hermansen (guitar) and Bernt Moen (keyboards) leaving the band and the addition of newbie guitarist Håkon Sagen thus making the band a quartet once again with absolutely no guest musicians to be found. This new streamlined attack of jazzified industrial metal featured an incessant barrage of guitar and bass riffs and hefty percussive workouts in conjunct with Munkeby's eccentric vocal screams that in this case sound a bit like Marilyn Manson in his 90s heyday although the keyboards still exist as supplemental atmospheric generators despite not appearing in the credits. Another unique feature about ONE ONE ONE is the tamping down of the jazz elements with Munkeby's sizzling sax squawks only making a rare appearance now and again.

ONE ONE ONE for all its wild and rambunctious metal mania sounds more based compositionally speaking in good old-fashioned rock and roll with a boogie-woogie swagger but dressed up in extreme metal regalia with extremely fast tempos and dissonant guitar distortion. This is one incessant noisefest from beginning to end with only brief moments of contrast such as the solo saxophone intro of "How Your Story Ends." Other than that it's high octane guitar, bass and drum rampage for the album's run which at 36 minutes of playing time is significantly shorter than the band's sprawling escapades into the avant-garde universe and beyond of its previous three albums.

As with all SHINING albums, this one is certainly an acquired taste but compared to everything that came before also the most accessible with instant gratification as far as melodic hooks getting under your skin however it wouldn't be SHINING if there wasn't some sort of barrage of elements that make its products difficult listening music. As far as the prog goes, ONE ONE ONE seems more early Yes than King Crimson with riffs that resemble that intro part of "Heart Of The Sunrise" ramped up in both speed and volume but ultimately ONE ONE ONE is much more interested in fleshing out pop hooks nurtured in the context of caustic industrial metal bombast. It's true that SHINING will find few who stick around for long but for hardcore extremophiles, ONE ONE ONE is another interesting twist in this unique band's alternate reality.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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